If we all wanna be frank here. You will agree with me that fatherhood is one of the toughest jobs in the world not talk about being a Nigerian father. I wish my father had told me this himself but unfortunately, I lost him to the cold arms of death at the age of three.
I had to watch my Mom struggle with everything like changing the light bulb in our apartment to looking for the perfect way to mold me, especially during my teenage years. It was not easy for her. These really showed she missed the presence of a man; her husband, in her life, in her home but what could she do?
She had to deal with the fact that she was widowed and just cope with everything. I just told you it was not easy for my mum coping without her husband. I have not told you how on earth it was easy for me living without my dad. It was like being lost in a tunnel with no ending and to top it all, no light to see where I was.
Living life without him was extremely hard as I had to go through every important milestone of my life all by myself. I basically had to go to my mum for everything even the manly questions which made our relationship kind of awkward. I remember the day I pulled my zipper on my scrotum when I was trying to pee.
I think I was about 7 years old then. I had to endure the dreadful pain for about 3 hours before I finally summoned the courage to show my mum to help me out. I thank God it’s a bit better now but I must say it’s still not easy.
You see one of the main problems in this country today is knowledge. Despite all the educational and informative kinds of stuff we have (online and offline). I still notice that we are still negligent. I’m not saying we are not trying at all. Honestly, we are, but we all know trying is not enough.
You see a man about to become a father in Nigeria not reading materials and going for seminars on how to do be a dad. He just believes fatherhood will come naturally to him just like sucking comes naturally to a newborn baby.
This is the same thing with most singles. They are so much in a hurry to get married and they don’t know the cheapest answer to marital questions. Indeed! That’s why I am happy you’re reading this article now. It shows you’re willing to learn and take your life to the next level.
So today I’m going to be sharing with you everything I’ve learned about fatherhood and by the time we are done here, it will look like you just hit a jackpot. But before we go into the How’s let us go into the Whys… Let us talk about some factors that have made fatherhood hard for today’s Nigerian fathers.
Why Being a Nigerian Fatherhood is Tough
I talked about this earlier and how it has affected me so far in life. Death is the number one factor that makes fatherhood hard for men and we all know it’s unstoppable that is why it’s topping my list.
To read more on death and its decapitating effects, you should ‘read this letter this single and searching man wrote to all fathers’. Reading it will give you a larger view of where I am coming from. I am sure if many Nigerian fathers were alive to nurture their kids we all will have turned out better.
B. Bad raising of yesterday’s children
We all know the fathers of today were once children of yesterday. So if the children of yesterday were badly trained, there will be corruption in the way they raise their own children when they start bearing and this circle keeps going.
It’s a sure factor because we cannot give what we do not have. Most of the men who have confided in me on fatherhood challenges have these problems because of the way they were raised.
C. Marrying an Ungodly Wife
You might argue with me on this that this can’t be true but from my experience so far, I will tell you it is. The kind of lady you marry have a huge impact on how your kids will turn out to be.
Men who have married disobedient and promiscuous women were never able to raise boys that respected girls. This is one of the reasons why rape is a new deal in our society today.
D. Ugly Requirements of Today’s jobs
I don’t need to talk too much about this. We all know the requirement of our jobs and the attention it demands especially if you live in Lagos or any other city in Nigeria. Sometimes, these requirements can go from STRESSFUL to DEADLY.
A friend once told me of how she works 6 days a week from 8am to 5pm and how far her workplace is from home. Imagine the damaging effects this has on her kids and her entire family. There are many men in this position as well.
E. Social media
It’s one thing for Nigerian fathers not to be at home due to work and it’s another thing to be at home during off periods and yet spend hours on Instagram checking who killed it and who did not.
Most fathers know this is wrong but they cannot just help it. They see their kids crave their attention, love, and care but they are carried away the craziness.
F. The Almighty Lagos/Naija traffic
It is always said that – an average Nigerian spends half of his day in traffic. It is impossible to spend humongous time in traffic and still have daddy time with the kids. Asides this, most dads get home when their kids have gone to bed.
Just yesterday a kid told me he only gets to see his dad during the weekends. And asking further made me realize that this is all based on traffic his dad faces to and fro from work. Enough said; Let us go to the main reason why I’m writing this article…
How to be a Dad in Nigeria
Here are steps on how to become a dad in Nigeria.
1. Learn your Language
You see, one of the problems we are facing now in Nigeria is the fact that Nigerian children cannot speak his/her mother tongue. Those that can speak can only say one or two phrases. So it will not be a lie if I say Nigerian children born in the next 50 – 100 years will not be able to speak or hear their mother tongue at all.
The only part of Nigeria I know mother tongue is still at its peak in the north. Yes, they have been waxing strong on this due to many factors. The first I noticed when I started digging is – they make sure Hausa is the first language introduced to their children before learning the English language.
They also use Hausa to teach in their schools (nursery, primary, and secondary) because they believe their children understand more when thought in Hausa.
But I must say the story is very different in the west. Here, children learn how to speak English first before learning their mother tongues making the learning process extremely hard when they later become older.
I’ve even met people of my age who can’t speak Yoruba or their mother tongue. So this contagious disease is spreading so fast that it’s just going to take a matter of time.
The only way we can fight it now is by teaching our kids our native languages. Every father should be able to teach his child his native language. For me, this is my first point on how to be a responsible father to your kids.
2. Love your Wife
You see one of the ways to also be the perfect Nigerian father for your kids is to love your wife. And this has to be deeper than the words you say. You have to show it. Make your children see this through what you do.
Today’s children now watch their parent’s actions than their words and they can smell it from far away if you’ve been honest or not. So if you want your kids to respect girls/women, show them, don’t command them. The best way to teach in your home is to lead by example.
3. Spend quality time with your kids
Most parents get it very wrong each time the topic of spending time with kids is been raised. They think raising Godly children is equated to giving 24 hours undivided attention and this is not true. The fact that you spend 24 hours with your kids every day doesn’t mean they cannot be corrupt.
Asides that, this kind of mentality cannot even work now because of the job requirements of today and traffic. So the best way to solve this is to cancel quantity time and spend quality time with your family instead.
If you are really at home make your children feel that you’re really at home. If it’s just 3 hours you have to spend with family make that 3 hours count. Not a single second should go by without spending time with the kids. This way you can eat your buns and have it – if you know what I mean…
4. Be the man that Loves the Kitchen
One of the best ways you can be a sensational father in Nigeria to your kids is to cook. Cook for the family especially when the need arises and to surprise the kids. This goes a long way in terms of changing the beliefs of your boys that the kitchen is only meant for girls.
5. Love, Respect your Parent and People
It is funny how Nigerian fathers of today preach love in their family and yet disrespect their parents. If you really want to grow love in your home, you have to love and respect everyone for who they are. Love your parents, cook, gatemen, security if not for anything but for the fact that you also want your children to do the same.
6. Never make a Promise you Cannot Fulfil
As little as this might sound to you, it’s a big deal to children. Do not promise your children things you know you can’t do, doing this always portray signs of disrespect and rebellion. And when you continue in this path they lose their total confidence in you.
7. Be Fragile with your Kids
It still saddens me when I see a parent of today raise their kids the way they were raised. They still believe in the cane era. That caning a child on every single offense will make the child turn out good.
Well, I am sorry to tell you that if you still have this in mind as a Nigerian father, you will fail because unfortunately, children of today are not wired that way.
Today is children prefer more of a dialogue that involves sitting them and telling what they have done wrong and the repercussions. But however, a good cane is still needed when the dialogue starts to fail.
8. Learn your Culture
I talked about our mother tongue earlier; now, I want to talk about our culture because I believe every Nigerian has one.
Now, it is also a big shame that our culture is rapidly disappearing. I mean the good ones. Some of today’s children cannot even greet not to talk of prostrating or kneeling to welcome visitors. And the disadvantage of this is the rapid disappearing of our culture right in front of our eyes.
To change this as a Nigerian father, you need to pass your culture on to your kids. Teach your children every little thing they need to know. Who knows these might be the only thing they might remember you for when you’re gone.
9. Teach them to know God
A man who knows God and teaches his family to follow in the same part is yet to know he has given his family the best gift. I am who I am today because I was taught to know God right from my crawling days.
Get close to God today and if you have been close before; get closer to God today. It will shape your children and shape the world around you.
As I usually say, there is no perfect guide to teach you everything you need to know. It’s always a little of this and a little of that. I will encourage you to read other books or blogs on this topic as this might expand your view on this.
Do not wait till she is pregnant before you start shaping yourself into that father your children will be proud of. Start now! Live now and live well! Please share your comments with me below. And share this blog post to a friend who is a father or about to be one.
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